Speakers (in alphabetical order) 

William Arnone is the Chief Executive Officer at the National Academy of Social Insurance. As a partner with Ernst & Young LLP for 15 years up to 2009, he was responsible for the strategic positioning, design, management, marketing, and thought leadership of retirement and financial education and counseling in employer-sponsored programs. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, he was principal, benefit consultant, and national director of Financial & Retirement Planning Services for Buck Consultants, Inc. (now part of Xerox). He also served as consultant on employment of older workers for the Florence V. Burden Foundation in New York. He previously was executive director of Helping Aged Needing Direction in the Bronx and served as a staff associate with the New York City Board of Correction. He is co-author of Ernst & Young’s Retirement Planning Guide (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). He received a J.D. from New York University Law School. He was selected as one of the first Charles H. Revson Fellows on the Future of New York City by the Columbia University School of Business (for 1979-1980). He is a Founding Board Member of the Academy and served on the Academy’s Board of Directors from 1986 to 1994.


Chris Evans is the Director of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC). She has worked in politics and healthcare for over fifteen years. Prior to that she practiced as an attorney at Smith Helms Mulliss & Moore, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, and at Blue Cross NC. Chris also taught middle and high school history and served as a Senior Lecturing Fellow at the Duke University School of Law. Chris received her law degree from the UNC School of Law, a Masters in Education from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Denison University.


Jonathan Oberlander, PhD, is professor and chair of Social Medicine at the School of Medicine and professor of Health Policy & Management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Political Science. His research and teaching interests include health care politics and policy, health care reform, Medicare, and American politics and public policy. Professor Oberlander is author of The Political Life of Medicare (University of Chicago Press) and co-editor of the 3-volume series The Social Medicine Reader, 2nd ed., (Duke University Press). His recent work explores ongoing political fights over and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, health care cost control, Medicare reform, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Independent Payment Advisory Board. Professor Oberlander speaks regularly to community groups, medical professionals, and non-academic audiences on health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, and Medicare, making the complex and technical details of health policy more understandable and accessible. He has commented on health care politics for a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the New York Review of Books, National Public Radio, the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Company, Politico, CBS News, and PBS. Jonathan Oberlander holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from Yale University and a B.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He has been a member of the Academy since 1997.


Pam Silberman, JD, DrPH, is director of the Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership, Health Policy and Management, and professor of The Practice, Health Policy and Management, at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina. Her research interests focus on Medicaid, the health care safety net, the uninsured, rural health, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Professor Silberman teaches courses on the US health care system, services for underserved populations and the ACA, and the health policy process. Professor Silberman recently left the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM), where she served as either president or vice-president from 1999-2015. In her roles at the NCIOM she had a hand in shaping nearly every state policy related to health care. Issues she addressed included rural health, state ACA implementation, the health care safety net, patient and family engagement, military health, the professional workforce, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, long-term care, dental care access, and health literacy. She has also done extensive work on promoting population health, helping to lead task forces that developed the North Carolina Prevention Action Plan, the Healthy NC 2020 objectives, and a plan to help local health departments in selecting, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based strategies to improve population health. She has received a number of awards for her work and has co-authored key publications in the field. Pam Silberman has a JD degree and a DrPH in health policy, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Rebecca Slifkin, MHA, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management (HPM). Prior to joining HPM she directed the Office of Planning, Analysis and Evaluation within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  She served as HRSA’s policy lead on Affordable Care Act implementation and was also responsible for performance measurement activities, GAO engagements, intergovernmental affairs, trans-HRSA research and evaluation, agency-wide policy analysis, and liaison with other HHS operating divisions. From 2000-2010 Dr. Slifkin directed the North Carolina Rural Health Research & Policy Analysis Center at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focused on a broad array of subjects, including critical access hospitals, pharmacy and Medicare Part D, the 340B program, Medicaid managed care, public health departments, access to care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and Medicare reimbursement issues, including analysis of the wage index and the occupation mix. She has substantial experience leading quick turnaround projects aimed at a policy audience, and she has consulted with agency and congressional staff numerous times on the potential impact of legislative policies. From 2000-2010, Dr. Slifkin was a member of the Rural Policy Research Institute Rural Health Panel, a national panel committed to producing objective analyses of the impacts of public policy on rural people and places.
Dana Thomas is the Government Relations Director Senior for Amerigroup. Thomas has spent more than a decade working on health care policy specifically for poor and low-income populations. In her current role, she supports Amerigroup’s Medicaid managed care goals by advocating with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other stakeholders working to strengthen publicly funded programs. She previously worked at the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) where she supervised the regulatory affairs staff and was responsible for promoting NFPRHA’s ACA implementation and safety-net infrastructure agenda. Thomas joined NFPRHA from Capitol Hill where she was Legislative Counsel in the office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). Prior to joining Rep. Schakowsky, she was in regulatory affairs at the National Association of Community Health Centers and served as a law clerk for Service Employees International Union (SEIU). She has a law degree and a certificate in health policy from George Washington University.


Benjamin W. Veghte is Vice President for Policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance. In this role, Veghte leads the Academy’s research and policy initiatives. He brings more than two decades of social insurance experience in diverse institutional environments in the United States and Germany. His research, teaching, and policy work have been devoted to advancing our understanding of the role of social insurance in thriving economies and democratic societies. Before leading the Academy’s policy work, Veghte was Research Director at Social Security Works. Prior to that, he was the Founding Executive Director of the Scholars Strategy Network at Harvard University, which seeks to improve public policy and strengthen democracy by connecting university scholars and their research to policymakers, associations, citizens, and the media. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Bremen and co-founder of the Bremen Graduate School of Social Sciences, an innovative interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Germany. He also served as a Social Protection Consultant to the European Commission on a project advising Eastern European succession states on social insurance policy. Veghte earned his Master of Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and his Ph.D. in modern European history from the University of Chicago. He is a Truman Scholar, a Truman Governance Fellow, and has been a Member of the National Academy of Social Insurance since 2013.


Christen Linke Young is the Deputy Secretary for Policy and Operations at the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). She provides leadership across the agency, with a focus on cross-agency initiatives and implementing innovative policy solutions. Prior to joining the DHHS team in North Carolina, she served as Principal Deputy Director of the federal Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the agency within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that oversees private health insurance initiatives. She previously served as Senior Policy Advisor for Health at the White House and as Director of Coverage Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Health Reform. She began her career in government as a policy analyst with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Christen Linke Young holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Stanford University and a law degree from Yale Law School.